Hasemi, Syed Jalaluddin

Hasemi, Syed Jalaluddin (1894-1947) politician, peasant leader. Jalaluddin Hasemi was born in 1894 at village Tetulia in Satkhira sub-division of Khulna district. A self-educated man, Hasemi made himself well versed in Bangla and English. He had a physical shortcoming. He lost a leg by accident while young and used to walk with the help of a wooden leg.

Jalaluddin Hasemi was a member of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee for several years. As a politician he committed himself to the interests of the agrarian classes. He fought for peasant rights and welfare and became an undisputed peasant leader. He participated in the non-cooperation and civil disobedience movements and was put behind bars a number of times. Politically, Jalaluddin believed in Hindu-Muslim unity, and found in the separate electorate system the seed of schism between various religious communities.'

Hasemi was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1929 with the support of Swarajya Party from Khulna Muslim constituency and was elected a deputy speaker of the council. Jalaluddin brought a resolution in January 1931 in protest against the lathi-charge on Subhash Chandra Bose. Hasemi supported the movement led by Subhash Chandra Bose in 1941 for the demolition of Holwell monument. He also tabled adjournment motions against the death penalty awarded to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukdev.

In the 1937 general elections, Jalaluddin won as a candidate of the Krishak Praja Party from Satkhira Palli Muslim constituency. He was associated with the Krishak Praja Party since its inception and was extremely upset when the Congress and the Krishak Praja Party failed to reach an understanding and form the government after the polls.

Hasemi was an inveterate advocate of the abolition of the permanent sattelment and restoration of peasant rights. He brought a resolution in the Bengal Legislative Assembly demanding abolition of the zamindari system in 1938. Due to the predominance of the landed interests in the Assembly, his proposal was turned down.

Jalaluddin Hasemi became deputy speaker of the Bengal Legislative Assembly in February 1942 as the nominee of the Progressive Coalition Party with the support of the Congress.'

When Sir Azizul Haq resigned as speaker on 27 April 1942 after being appointed as the Indian high commissioner to Britain, Jalaluddin became the Acting Speaker and worked for a year.

When Mahatma Gandhi went on a fast in jail in 1943, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee tabled a resolution in the House requesting him to call off his fast. Defying protests from the European members, Jalaluddin allowed a discussion on the resolution. On 5 July 1943 he also defied intense pressure and allowed former chief minister A.K. Fazlul Huq and other ministers like Shyamaprasad, Santosh Kumar Basu, Pramatha Nath Banerjee and Shamsuddin Ahmed to speak in the House explaining the reasons for their resignation.'

Jalaluddin was an elected councillor of Calcutta Corporation during 1936-37 and 1939-40. In that role also he had left his mark as a brilliant speaker who vehemently opposed communalism and spoke in favour of joint elections.

In 1946, when a huge wave in favour of the Muslim League was sweeping across Bengal, Jalaluddin contested from his old constituency Satkhira as a Congress-supported candidate and lost. He died' on 9 January 1947 at his Karaya Road residence in Calcutta. [Dilip Banerjee]